3D Print at Personalize TCT Show Birmingham

The UK’s definitive and leading additive manufacturing, 3D printing, rapid prototyping and product development technology has been an awesome experience for visitors of every level of interest from hackerspace to aerospace. The eighteenth edition of this exciting free event has been such a big deal, I had registered my ticket months ago.


The TCT Show + Personalize took place at the NEC in Birmingham UK from 25-26 September 2013, Hall 3a. Unfortunately I was only able to make it to Day 1 on Wednesday, but I wanted to make the most if it. I bet that thousands of attendees came through the doors of the event over the few days with the quality of the visitors particularly high. A lot of exhibitors have reported that they have already reserved their space for 2014.


The event was totally awesome, and not just for us who have been for the first time there: such a great combination of exciting technology on show with no admission charges, free seminar sessions, free car parking and free visitor Wi-Fi proved a winning formula for all the visitors and the stage is now set for continued growth in 2014.


This nice event might have been the shop window for the UK industry. Unlike the other great show in London, TCT has focused on the emerging technologies and developements of the scene: there haven’t been too much fancy little plastic toys or entry-level FDM technology 3d printers, but we have seen a lot of metal 3d printers and full-color 3d printing solutions for the rapid prototyping industry. The variety and interesting developments have increased year by year, and TCT is the only UK event to find it all under one roof.


In addition to the industrial technology providers this year also saw the debut of the Personalize hub and a RepRap corner as well, focused on the emerging maker and consumer markets for 3d printing. This zone proved to be one of the most popular and busy sections of the show, the open-source 3d printers like the Prusa, Mendel and Huxley have played an important role in the big game of the representation of the additive manufacturing technology.


And in addition to the interesting exhibitions and booths, C-Level executives from 3D Systems, Stratasys, ExOne, Mcor Technologies, Shapeways and MakieLab have been all on stage to share their wealth of experience across the full spectrum of the newest 3d printing technologies. The TCT Show auditorium has been filled with designers, developers, engineers, investors, business owners, makers and the media. Actually, this is the first time that so many people of the industry’s executives have been brought together to present their experiences with 3D printing.


Experienced 3d printing experts like Joris Peels from Voxelfab have discussed cutting edge technology for concept, design, and manufacturing functions across all sectors. Mr Peels presented his ideas on where the industry should be going. The famous engineer talked about how to tidy up technology in a more practical way, focusing on sorting out the waste produced by machines when builds do not work. “There is a lot of hype on the desktop, ” he explained, adding that the media and advertisements for desktop 3d printers “overstate capabilities of these affordable entry-level machines and underplay problematic things such as build quality and reliability.”


“It’s great having machines but they are all worthless without users having the ability to make exactly what they want. We need millions of people to be able to design, iterate, modify, custumise, individualise and create”. My opinion: absolutely indeed, most people who can afford to buy an affordable desktop 3d printer won’t take the time to learn a professional 3d modeling for 3d printing tools like Rhinoceros, Solidworks or 3D Max, and although there are plenty of sites offering downloadable objects for 3d printing, the magic of creating your own stuff can be quite difficult to reach for an average user without some hacking enthusiasm.


“There’s a lot of hype on the desktop,” he explained, adding that the media and advertisements for desktop 3D printers “overstate capabilities of the machines and underplay problematic things such as build quality and reliability.”

“It’s great having machines but they are worthless without [users] having the ability to make exactly what they want. We need millions of people to be able to design, iterate, modify, customise, individualise and create,” he added.

– See more at: http://www.engineeringcapacity.com/news101/business-news/joris-peels-at-tct-show-2013#sthash.RZjANnDj.dpuf

discuss cutting edge technology for concept, design and manufacturing functions across all sectors. – See more at: http://www.engineeringcapacity.com/news101/business-news/joris-peels-at-tct-show-2013#sthash.RZjANnDj.dpuf

discuss cutting edge technology for concept, design and manufacturing functions across all sectors. – See more at: http://www.engineeringcapacity.com/news101/business-news/joris-peels-at-tct-show-2013#sthash.RZjANnDj.dpuf

discuss cutting edge technology for concept, design and manufacturing functions across all sectors. – See more at: http://www.engineeringcapacity.com/news101/business-news/joris-peels-at-tct-show-2013#sthash.RZjANnDj.dpuf
discuss cutting edge technology for concept, design and manufacturing functions across all sectors. – See more at: http://www.engineeringcapacity.com/news101/business-news/joris-peels-at-tct-show-2013#sthash.RZjANnDj.dpuf

This year the event has boasted a first, as it has welcomed the RepRap community to set up camp in a dedicated space on the show floor. The RepRap project is one of my favorites these days: the open-source affordable 3d printers which can replicate themselves while 3d printing their own plastic parts already play a key role in the new industrial revolution and is a real milestone on the way from mass production to mass customization. Richard Horne, RepRap stalwart spoke at TCT for the first time this year, where he championed the maker community in his presentation 3D Printing for Business and Pleasure.


Horne’s reputation among makers is borne out of his keen involvement in the RepRap community. RepRap – which is short for replicating rapid prototyper – is a self-copying 3d printer that uses a plastic filament and is much cheaper than buying a desktop 3d printer, as RepRap develops and gives away its designs for a much cheaper machine with a self-copying capability. The technology is giving communities in the developing world access to 3d printing, as well as hobbyists keen to 3d  print their own 3d designs at home.


Luckily the father of RepRap, Dr Adrian Bowyer, has joined Horne et al for the show along with RepRapPro Ltd. (link) on the stand, who had many RepRaps printing RepRaps and has been on hand to answer frequently asked questions and discuss the future of home 3D printing and how personal manufacturing could evolve in the near future. It has been really interesting to me, especially because I’ve just bought a RepRap Huxley 3d printer hardware kit and have just started to built my very first open-source desktop 3d printer. I’ll write a post about it, I promise! And at the end, let me show you a photo of a 3d printed jazz trio, which played at the TCT hall: these guys seem to play on traditional instruments like the electric guitar, drum kit and a keyboard; but in this case, all of the instruments have some weird 3d printed parts, just check out the fantastic details! I wish Giger had designed some 3d printed guitars

3D printing buildings and entire streets – will additive manufacturing revolutionize the building industry as well?

Hi there, today it’s going to be about some really special appliances of 3d printing, this brand new additive manufacturing technology, which has been applied in the rapid prototyping industry for many years now, but in the last couple of months, it seems to bless the housing and building industry as well.


The advantages of using 3D printing technology in building industry would be quicker construction, lower labor costs, and less waste produced. It is also a potential way of building extraterrestrial structures on the Moon or other planets where environmental conditions are less conducive to human labor-intensive building practices. The layer by layer building technique of the most common 3D printing techniques offers a large scale of opportunities for architects and designers, but unfortunately, they haven’t got the chance for experimenting because the usual 3D printers have a build volume of about 300 cubic inches so it isn’t enough for some large scale or 1:1 prototypes or building structures.


That scale fits for the most 3D printed projects in almost every scene, such as jewelry, shoes, furniture, and 3D printed art work. But there are already some really inspirational and progressive experiments and researches at Loughborough University (UK) which is inspired by 3D printing with concrete and which is said to be capable of producing full sized building components with a degree of customization that has not yet been seen. It could create a new era of architecture that is adapted to the environment and fully integrated with engineering function. It sounds pretty weird, doesn’t it?

Research is under way to flexibly construct commercial and private habitation in around 20 hours, with built-in plumbing and electrical facilities, in one continuous build, using large 3D printers. Working versions of 3D printing building technology are already printing 2 metres (6 ft 7 in) of building material per hour as of January 2013, with the next-generation printers capable of 3.5 metres (11 ft) per hour, sufficient to complete a building in a week.


A dutch architect is planning on constructing a two-story, futuristic “Landscape House” using a custom-designed 3D printer. He uses a D-Shape printer, which combines thin layers of sand with some bonding material to create a similar finish to marble. The building, then, will be 3D printed in chunks — about 20 feet by 30 feet — and be constructed from the ground up. That’s what additive fabrication is all about, isn’t it? Janjaap Ruijssenaars’s 3D printed building is scheduled to be built in 2014.

“ The Landscape House couldn’t be built with conventional technology — the 3D printed frame will be one huge piece of rock, entirely seamless, with steel and glass extras installed on the sides. Its shape is meant to “celebrate landscape”, but it’s also a demonstration of what might be considered the efficiencies of 3D printing rather than any kind of revolution. “ (Ruijssenaars)


Let’s conitnue with another awesome 3D printed architectural project! Do you know Softkill Design‘s Protohouse for a great example of additive construction that really would be impossible with bricks and mortar and other traditional building materials? Let me introduce you this amazing concept of this complex organic structure, which can remind you on sci-fi scenes.


The Protohouse of Softkill Design experiments with the architectural potential of the latest Selective Laser Sintering technologies, pushing the boundaries of huge scale 3D printing by computational designing using parametric and generative algorithms that can micro-organize the printed material itself. With the support of the huge 3D printing company Materialise, Softkill Design fabricated a high resolution prototype of a 3D printed building at 1:33 scale. The 3D printed model consists of 30 precisely detailed fibrous pieces which can be easily assembled into one continuous cantilevering structure, without need for any adhesive material. The arrangement of 700 micron radius fibres displays a wide range of flexible and dynamic architectural textures and the capability to fabricate built-in  architectural elements, such as structure, furniture, stairs, and façade, all in one instance. That will really inspire the contemporary architecture, just you wait!


And I want to introduce an other awesome concept, the project came from the MIT Media Lab, and it’s actually a progressive and experimental collaboration between computational architecture and bio-engineering. Neri Oxman and her team at MIT has built a pavilion using silkworms and the technology of 3D printing: just check out this awesome video about the project, it really looks amazing!

SILK PAVILION from Mediated Matter Group on Vimeo.

3D printing with various materials

Dear Visitor, welcome on my blog! It is the first post on this new blog of mine, it will be about my newest 3D printing experiences and experiments with new materials. Technically, we could 3D print with an material which melts and can be extruded through a nozzle. I mean, just think about sugar. Or chocolate. Or a dozen of other usual stuff. Cheese for an example.


The fused deposition modeling – which is applied in the common desktop 3D printers for home and office use – allows you to 3D print with wood or flexible and bio-degradable materials as well. I know, the big companies only offer the standard ABS and PLA filaments for 3D printing, but if you are a real hacker und want to push the boundaries of your desktop 3D printer, you can get some really special stuff from Europe.


Have you ever pictured yourself to 3D print with wood? Yes, it is real wood! Technically it is like liquid wood used in building industry but finer. It is a very smooth birch saw dust which is bonded with plastic polymers and is extruded to a filament. You can feed your extruder with this filament, hack the default setting of your 3D printer and 3D print some really weird wooden geometries!

Just check out the photos I’ve attached, these forms and shapes couldn’t have been produced with traditional wood milling techniques. And these 3D printed wooden objects act like natural wood, you can paint, screw, glue, sand ‘em, by the way the texture finish of the 3D printed surface doesn’t need any cleaning of stuff like that, it looks just beautiful.


So, that’s all for today, check back soon for some new 3D print stories from my kitchen;)